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Max tops qualifying Down Under: 'Very happy with my lap and pole position'

Published on 01 April 2023 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen took home pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. The current Formula 1-world champion topped the board in all three sessions. He hopes to take top step in Albert Park this Sunday after his third place finish in 2019. When the flag dropped, Mercedes surprised friend and foe as George Russell and Lewis Hamilton came in second and third.

After qualifying, Max said the following: “My last run in qualifying was very good. The whole weekend has been very tough to get the tyres in the right window to push straight away. It all worked out well in Q3. I am very happy with the lap and of course very happy to be on pole position.”

Looking ahead to the race, which will be on Sunday 7.00 hrs local Dutch time, Verstappen continues: “I am already looking forward to tomorrow actually. I think tomorrow we’ll have a good race car but then again it’s quite tricky on the tyres to keep them alive. So it’s going to be an interesting race.”

Whether Max is confident that he can go for the win tomorrow, he replies: I have been on the podium once in Melbourne, but I want to be on a different step this time.

Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix gets underway in dry conditions but not without the threat of a rain shower. The sun is barely visible and there is a strong wind on the semi-street circuit in Melbourne. While Max starts his first fast lap with just eleven minutes remaining on the clock, the red flag is dropped because Oracle Red Bull Racing-team mate Sergio Perez locks up in Turn three and gets stuck in the gravel trap. Today has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Mexican, who also had a very eventful third free practice.

When Max eventually gets the chance to put in a decent time on the board, it’s immediately the quickest, a 1:18.063. He manages to even better that to a 1:17.384 (P1). Local hero Oscar Piastri is sixteenth and the first one to dropout. Others who also failed to make the cut in Q1 are: Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas and of course Perez.

In Q2, Max does a 1:17.219 which he then improves to a 1:17.056. The two-time Formula 1-world champion is once again topping the leaderboard, this time ahead of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. Drivers who failed to make the top ten are: Esteban Ocon in P11, and behind him Yuki Tsunoda, Lando Norris, Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries (P15).

In the final part of qualifying, the remaining drivers compete for pole position. Max’ first flying lap is not perfect (1:17.578) but with a 1:17.262 he narrowly manages to come out on top, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. With still some time remaining on the clock, the final run gets underway. Max does 1:16.732. A very clean lap earns Verstappen the pole. Mercedes surprisingly comes in second and third with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso puts his Aston Martin in fourth, ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Contest Australian GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed World Champion 2022 cap!

Results qualifying Australia:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:17.3841:17.0561:16.732
2George RussellRUSMercedes1:17.6541:17.5131:16.968
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:17.6891:17.5511:17.104
4Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:17.8321:17.2831:17.139
5Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:17.9281:17.3491:17.270
6Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:17.8731:17.6161:17.308
7Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:18.2181:17.3901:17.369
8Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:17.9621:17.7611:17.609
9Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:18.3121:17.5741:17.675
10Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:18.0291:17.4121:17.735
11Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:17.7701:17.768
12Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:18.4711:18.099
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:18.2431:18.119
14Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:18.1591:18.129
15Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:18.4501:18.335
16Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:18.517
17Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:18.540
18Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:18.557
19Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:18.714
0Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT---